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Fortunately, effective leadership is a skill that can be taught, especially through the study of exemplary figures of the past. In each chapter of On Leadership, Dr. Donald J. Palmisano cites an example of positive or negative action as a source from which to glean essential leadership lessons. Through guided analysis of each real-life situation, readers will learn detailed, practical methods and strategies for becoming true leaders. This book provides crucial advice for people who aspire to become effective leaders in any position.
Palmisano, an attorney and physician, uses historical and modern-day leadership examples-both good and bad-to show that effective leadership can be taught. He focuses on characteristics he believes to be the essential elements of true leadership-persistence, creativity, decisiveness, skillful utilization of information technology-and he offers a set of easy-to-follow steps to becoming a successful leader based on principles gleaned from personal experiences and the leadership failures and successes of prominent individuals (Rudy Giuliani) and events (Hurricane Katrina). Particularly helpful are the chapters on various forms of communication-written, with media, in meetings and public speaking-and interpersonal relationships, the latter centered on learning to listen, dealing with people in top positions and selecting members of a team. Each chapter includes a "Lessons Learned" section in which key points are distilled for easy reference. Additional topics include using the past as a foundation for success, courage and truth. Informative and well-written, this book will appeal to managers at all levels looking to become effective leaders and will be especially helpful to those just entering the management arena. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Cameron and Green, coauthors of Making Sense of Change Management, have written an outstanding handbook around their thesis that "leaders need to take on different roles...some...more obvious and accessible to us than others." The five roles range from "edgy catalyser," who asks uncomfortable questions, to "measured connector," who puts people and ideas together. They describe the five roles in depth, explain the research behind them, provide a questionnaire determining the reader's "natural" roles, and provide specific exercises and additional resources for strengthening weak roles. Chapters on the "shadow sides" and political effects of each role in various office cultures close out the part of the book directed to individuals. There is also a teaching section, with suggestions for using the book, and the roles, in group training. Very readable and highly recommended.
On Leadership is not as good. Palmisano, a former president of the American Medical Association and both a doctor and a lawyer, lays out the basic principles for successful leadership, starting with "do your homework, have courage-and don't give up." Unfortunately, that's about the extent of the useful suggestions. Later chapters stress things like "writing down pithy quotes for later use" and "[verifying] information from Internet sources." Most suggestions are similarly either unusual or obvious and written in an academic style that will discourage many readers. Anecdotes and illustrative stories abound, but, curiously, they all stress individual achievement and ignore how a leader functions as part of a team, a concept critical to modern leadership. Libraries collecting comprehensively inself-help may want to purchase; all others should pass.
Posted September 25, 2008
It is rare to find a general book on leadership written by a doctor. But as Dr. Donald Palmisano, a New Orleans native, knows all too well, lessons about leadership, resiliency and preparedness come not only from experiences in political governance, business and military service but also from the ranks of health care workers. Palmisano describes the lack of needed medical supplies and means of communications he faced as a young doctor responding to Hurricane Betsy in New Orleans. 'During the four plus decades that have elapsed since Hurricane Betsy, I've found very little change in the city's ability to respond effectively in a major disaster,' he laments. Hurricane Katrina offered ample evidence for that point, and more recently Hurricanes Ike and Gustav have highlighted persistent American vulnerabilities. But while these examples underscore the need for more effective leadership, Palmisano, a former America Medical Association president, avoids hand wringing. He focuses far more on examples of positive leadership--both historical and modern--than on failures. ON LEADERSHIP's engaging stories and profiles are the product of a lifetime of leadership experience at the intersection of medicine, law, business and academia. Readers have much to gain from Palmisano's pearls.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.